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Books and Documents

Islamic Culture

Dhaka: The Enduring City
Milia Ali

Beneath Dhaka's unattractive façade lies a compassionate soul. The city and its people have a great ability to accept and adapt. From a quaint town of the '70s it has transformed into a bustling city -- reinventing itself to accommodate the rapid changes. But, despite all its urbanisation Dhaka still retains touches of its rustic self… The other day I was shopping in Gulshan 2. A hawker sitting with his basket of Dhaka cheese offered me a big chunk. When I told him I had no cash left on me he said: “Aapa, please take it, you can pay me tomorrow....

 

Iran has already tried to block Western music and movies and social media. But they cannot block them successfully. These technological influences are even more powerful and more effective and corrosive than the invasion of Western fast food. No radar system and no Internet block and no diet can possibly protect Iran from the real secret weapons of the West. It just won’t work. Freedom cannot be blocked. Here’s to a year free of fear and filled with freedom.....

 

There Is No Single Islamic Culture
Mohamad Jebra

What most converts to Islam seem to miss is that Islam is a spiritual and religious system, it is not an alternative to one’s cultural and national identity. In fact, wherever you go in the world you will find a unique and harmonious merging of Islamic and local values. Sub-Saharan Africa has a unique Islamic culture, which greatly differs from Chinese Muslim culture, which, likewise, greatly varies from Balkan Islamic culture…..

The ‘Evil’ In Our Textbooks
Madiha Afzal

Our penchant for conspiracy theories also falls into place. We are taught that Muslims were victimised before Partition. The British conspired with the Hindus and the Congress to do so. One of the reasons given for “the fall of East Pakistan” is “international conspiracies”, with players as diverse as Russia, India and America conspiring against us. Little wonder, then, that we have an unhealthy sense of national paranoia….

 

The ‘Swinging Seventies’ In Pakistan: An Urban History
Nadeem F. Paracha

The shrine culture, pertaining to the devotional, recreational, and economic activity around the shrines of ancient Muslim saints, had been around in the subcontinent for almost a thousand years. The saints’ Islam was more accommodating than dogmatic, and a largely permissive culture of ecstatic devotional music, innovative rituals and indigenous intoxicants started to take shape around the shrines, mostly involving poor farmers, the dispossessed, (and later,) the urban lumpen proletariat....

 

My Name Is Pakistan and I’m Not an Arab
Nadeem F. Paracha

The point is, instead of assimilating the finer points of the diverse religious and ethnic cultures that our history is made of and synthesise them to form a more convincing and grounded nationalism and cultural identity, we have decided to reject our diverse and pluralistic past and instead adopt cultural dimensions of a people who, ironically, still consider non-Arabs like Pakistanis as second-class Muslims....

 
Religion and Rituals
Dilnawaz Qamar

Practices of rites and rituals without changing lives confine the religion to the precincts of a mosque, a church, a temple or holy place. Religion is practical that changes one inside out, not only a set of actions performed daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. It is our choice to become either an ignorant dummy or one seeking the will of God....

 

The Truth behind ‘Arabisation’ Of Pakistani Culture
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

‘Arabisation’ not only flies in the face of the more liberal and fluid cultural practices that have prevailed in this region since antiquity, but also more damningly is the primary impetus behind the militant Jihadi upsurge. I largely agree with this perspective, although such general hypotheses necessarily oversimplify social reality....

Timbuktu Libraries in Exile
Community – Seattle, Washington, United States

In 2012, under threat from fundamentalist rebels, a team of archivists, librarians, and couriers evacuated an irreplaceable trove of manuscripts from Timbuktu at great personal risk. The manuscripts have been saved from immediate destruction, but the danger is not over. A massive archival effort is needed to protect this immense global heritage from loss....

 

The Islamisation of a Culture
Rana Allam

I do not want to imagine what kind of culture this minister will enforce in our cinemas, books, music, arts and cultural centres! These, along with their censorship committee, are under the leadership of the Islamist Alaa Abdel Aziz. But will they be able to censor Egyptian youth?...

 
Connecting Minds — Creating the Future
Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Connecting Minds — Creating the Future
Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

More than 1,200 years ago, while Europe was in its Dark Ages, the Muslim world was ruled by a dynasty of Islamic leaders who embraced free thought and creativity from all corners of the globe. Never before had history witnessed such cultural openness and symbiosis as during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphs. They built the world’s first university, named it Bayt Al Hikma (House of Wisdom) and filled its library with the finest cultural, scientific and literary creations known to mankind....

 

Muslim women do need liberating — not from Islam — from their indigenous cultural practices, often conflated with Islam. Muslims must not be reticent; they need to bear the responsibility for the liberation of Muslim women and ensure that they are not deprived of the rights granted to them by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) more than 1,400 years ago....

Child Marriage in Islam: A Myth?
Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad

In Islam, this is the true position of a girl achieving puberty or the age of proper understanding when it comes to marriage. The religion basically prescribes that a child ceases to be a minor upon her first menstruation, regardless of age. Once approached with a marriage proposal, she has the option to accept or reject it. Her consent is a necessary prerequisite for a valid marital contract. Her guardian enjoys no liberty to force her to accept any proposal if she is unwilling....

At least, this was the case until the new religious leaders decided to redefine what Egypt's national culture is. The political victory of the Salafist movements and the Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak reawakened the Salafists' desire for a cultural revolution that would match their views. The question of whether dance - and ballet, in particular - is permissible from a religious perspective is not a new issue....

 

Filmistan: Here and There
Waseem Altaf

Indian films are screened in more than 90 countries of the world whereas Pakistani films have almost no access to international market. While there are dozens of cinema houses in Delhi, Islamabad is the only capital city in the world where there is not even one single cinema hall. At present most of our film studios are in ruins and a sizable number of cinema houses lay demolished. Today Indian films are tough contenders for International film awards and.....

They scorched the stages of Algeria and Tunis, in Casablanca and Baghdad, and also in Berlin and Paris. With bobbed hair − a daring style for the time − a thin cigarette in a holder between their fingers, they were among the leaders of the musical and cultural scene in their countries and even became international stars. They are the great Jewish female musicians and singers who were active in North Africa and the Middle East in the mid-20th century...

 

Ignoring the Stereotypes of Expats, Saudis
Sabria S. Jawhar

The Saudi pushed aside women to retrieve his bags from the belt, and then demanded loudly that the porter come immediately. For many foreigners, it was probably their first impression of Saudi Arabia as they entered the country. In another instance, my husband recalled waiting to make a transaction at a Western Union office when a Saudi woman entered the office full of expats, grabbed her maid by the hair and pulled her out of line and literally threw her into the car....

 

“We, the students of Dacca University, who initiated the language movement in East Pakistan three years ago (and) who are now more determined than ever to secure for Bangla the status of state language of Pakistan, will take this opportunity, while you are assembled at Karachi, to press once more our legitimate claim . . . We refuse to believe that any language under heaven can be Islamic or Christian or heathen....

In ancient Egypt only high priests and anointed pharaohs were allowed into the temple precincts. The common folk followed their own religious practices, based on what they heard went on behind the temple, inside the temple walls, together with the knowledge that they were allowed or expected to acquire....

 

Ghalib's Poetry Reflects the Spirit behind Free and Open Source Software (SOFF) Movement
Mirza Ghalib

Open source programme creators cater to the highest standards and give away their work for free, much like Ghalib who wrote not just for money but the discerning reader Mirza Ghalib, the great poet of 19th century Delhi and one of the greatest poets in history, would have liked the idea of Open Source software. ....

As the conflict in Mali intensifies, it is not just the country’s traditional mausoleums and ancient manuscript collections that may be under threat of loss or destruction. The publication of a further appeal for the protection of Mali’s cultural heritage by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, on 14 January has drawn renewed attention to the threat that the armed conflict in the country now represents for its cultural heritage.....

 

Celebrations of the Prophet’s Muhammad’s birthday are purely cultural for most – the holiday is not Islamic per se. The holiday is contested by some as being “un-Islamic” since orthodox religious establishments do not recognise the holiday religiously and say Islam does not require celebrations of any kind on the Prophet’s birthday, unlike the Eid holidays. Nevertheless, in Egypt, the celebrations are usually colourful and sometimes garish....

Thoufeek Zakriya is an Indian Muslim from the city of Cochin who does calligraphy in a number of languages, including Arabic, Samaritan, Syriac and Sanskrit. More interestingly, he is a Muslim who does masterful Hebrew calligraphy. While studying in madrasa, he learned that the Jewish people were considered by Islam to be ahl al-kitab (“People of the Book”), which sparked a curiosity in him to learn more about this religious community.

 

In some Islamic nations, polygyny is relatively common, while in others, including Turkey, Tunisia, and Bosnia and Herzegovinia, the practice is outright illegal. Even in large Muslim nations that allow it, such as Indonesia, the practice is increasingly unpopular. Non-Muslims dealing with Islamic communities should take caution against making assumptions, letting individual Muslims, their families and communities speak for themselves.

 

The Bad Girl of Urdu Literature - Part II
Rakhshanda Jalil
In her play Aurat, Rashid Jahan turned the image of the suffering woman on its head and made her a votary of progress. Fatima, a childless woman, is married to Atiq, a maulvi who is bent upon marrying again, ostensibly to beget an heir but actually to get a younger wife, the daughter of a 'devotee' who will also be more pliable. For all his ostentatious piety and dispensing of charms and amulets to the needy, Atiq is a wily, greedy, typically chauvinistic man who does not think twice about cursing and beating his wife when she questions his authority and wisdom.

 


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NEW COMMENTS

  • Rational says, "tell some reason why Islam must be cared?" . . .   Why I care for Islam is my business just as why ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rational, even after reading and seemingly agreeing with Naseer Saheb and now knowing very well that the word kafir does not mean unbeliever, but ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Polygamy is against the law in Western countries.  I go to a foreign country, I obey its laws and respect its people.Polygamy is impoverishing ...
    ( By Miriam12 )
  • GMtell some reason why Islam must be cared?should it be cared because it call unbelievers "worst creatures".Is Islam ugly so you want to paint ...
    ( By rational )
  • GMif my quotation from your holy books(?), your statements(wisdom?) irritate you, it is your problem not mine.have you monopolized prof. Naim?Is he like you ...
    ( By rational )
  • Sultan Shahin sahebi am least interested in who are you. you are enemy of Islam in eyes of many Muslims. There are no moderates ...
    ( By rational )
  • POLYGAMY IS BAD Nature keeps a balance among everything including men to women ratio, ideally is 1:1 with fluctuations from 995: 1005.  Even if 5% of ...
    ( By MikeGhouse )
  • Very well written and pointed letter. Hope there are many more like Ms. Iqbal to voice their views in England.
    ( By mohammad imran )
  • The Internet is far better at spreading hate and prejudice than at promoting understanding and knowledge. Moreover Muslims have failed to come up with a ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The full article posted is by Munawar Anees but the title is from a different article written by Muhammad Amir Rana. The Home page ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Thanks for putting the issue in its proper perspective, Arshad sahab.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Until and unless the Muslim world loudly and categorically condemns the radicalization of its youths by the fanatic goons, Islamophobia will remain a problem. ...
    ( By GRD )
  • Good Article. I wish every Muslim stand up like Seima Iqbal to counter counter the Media and the Islamophobia
    ( By Naseem Ahmed )
  • Dear Afaaq Siddiqui sb, I am glad to see you on this forum after a long time. Better late than never! However, what should disappoint you ...
    ( By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi )
  • Give us new, fresh ideas, afaqsiddiqi sahib. How do we tackle the growing violence all around, perpetrated by people who claim to be Muslim, ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Dears Sultan Shahin sb.After a long time I glossed over to the NAI to see what is keeping Muslims busy  on this site. I ...
    ( By afaqsiddiqi )
  • Am I listening Rational Saheb, in this and other threads, that you are not an enemy of Islam, not an apostate, do not want ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • The stupidest statement I have heard is that it is necessary to 'care' about Islam in order to reform it. Not so. British did ...
    ( By secularlogic )
  • Rational, these prickly men in "moderate" clothing are running about on different threads in different directions like chickens with their heads off.On one, he ...
    ( By secularlogic )
  • Rational, your trying to seek support for your smearing activity from Prof. Naim's valid comment is farfetched and naïve.  
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rational, phrases like ""hostiles to Islam", "Apostates", "enemies of islam", "Zionists" etc" are precise phrases and I apply them appropriately. If you do not ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rational, the simple fact is that in order to be an Islamic reformist one has to truly care for Islam. By the way, CAIR is not ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • GM is another moderate Muslim carrying handy bogies like "hostiles to Islam", "Apostates", "enemies of islam", "Zionists" etc.
    ( By rational )
  • GMAnything is hostile if it doesn't taste to our taste.let us see what your nitpicking brings.if you don't have any kind of power there ...
    ( By rational )
  • India is on the path of Pakistan. India Hindus  has learned Hate philosophy from other religions. I have always written same on this website ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Rational, I am against head covering or face covering. We should discontinue these customs through education and dialogue, not through court orders or government mandates.  
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rational, reforms cannot be brought about by those who have turned hostile to Islam. Liberal and modernistic Muslims have the ability to articulate reforms ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "Enemies of Islam" are saviors of Islam.this slogan shuts off the mouths of critics of Islam? who is not shouting this slogan?
    ( By rational )
  • Ghulam Ghaus sahebyou can make Islam peaceful only through covering the writings of four imams and mujaddids. 
    ( By rational )
  • GMwhat is your position on head-scarf? then on covering faces by Muslim women. they think it is obligatory on them to cover the faces.suppose ...
    ( By rational )
  • GM said in one of past comments:one who leave Islam can't bring reform(ref article on Ayaan Hirsi). means only Muslims can do that.then he ...
    ( By rational )
  • You are right Sajida Sahiba, while "poverty affects mental development in some people," ... " "It is insulting to think poor cannot tell right ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • You may be right Mr. Sultan Shahin, but this is precisely what nearly all Muslims are doing, practising takfeerism and sectarianism. So what is ...
    ( By Ali Abbas )
  • Torture and custodial deaths in Pakistani prisons should be a matter of serious concern to international human rights organizations.  
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • You raise a very valid point Naim Saheb. "Enemies of Islam" is a very handy bogey in the armoury of most Muslims to explain away all questions ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • So please tell us who these "enemies of Islam" were who appeared among the the Muslims the moment the Prophet passed away. And how ...
    ( By C M Naim )
  • Dear Zubair sahib Assalama Alaikum, May Allah keep you all safe and sound! I have collected only some Ahadith from only four books of Hadith (Sahih al-Bukhari, Muwatta ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus غلام غوث )
  • Ghaus sahab, sometimes i read your comments. they are very informative. you have replied well. but give me references from saheeh hadith as authentic ...
    ( By Zubair Ansari JMI B.Tech )
  • I'm screaming for Nth time - we passed opinions for a trillion times, it did not work. We need core references from Quran-Prophet to bring ...
    ( By Hasan Mahmud )
  • The supreme court must fix down the same rules for the students of all faiths in order to check the malpractice and the use ...
    ( By Raihan Nezami )